Saturday, 20 March 2010

Flashback: Friends

I have a good mind to excise the more and more incidental TV from my Encore’s World of Film & TV; it's become more and more superfluous. Still, it’s as good a time as any to recall one of my favourite shows in memory. I’m not as avid a TV watcher and with good reason. We’re constantly bemoaning the state of cinema, but if any media entity needs a rebirth it’s the small screen. I’ve always been an enthusiastic fan of Friends. There was actually a period of time when I doubted the sense of humour of anyone who didn’t like the show. Even though the show is geared at young adults more than anyone I’ve been watching since I was a preteen and it’s one of the few shows I hasten to see when reruns are on. But what’s the charm of Friends?
The biggest plus of Friends is the chemistry of the cast members. I’m hard-pressed to remember any other ensemble cast that works so well. The producers certainly hit the jackpot with their casting, but what makes Friends even more satisfying is the goodness of the guest players that come and go. Sure, there guest stars are not as abundant as Will & Grace but with stints from Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Tom Selleck, Brad Pitt, David Arquette, Gabrielle Union, Winona Ryder, Christina Applegate and countless others – each of which worked – I think, perhaps it was the writing that made this series thrived so. Friends is riddled with running gags I wonder how audiences thrust into the middle seasons would pick up the many references to earlier episodes (Chandler’s Dad, Smelly Cat, Monica’s weight &etc). But, to its credit Friends work even if the allusions aren’t always perceptible.
Everyone ends up having a favourite and though mine are easily stratified (ranking them it’s a close tie between Perry and Kudrow followed by Schwimmer then Cox then Aniston and LeBlanc with their characters ranking likewise) I don’t fault anyone who doesn’t have my favourite. The idiosyncrasies of each though ridiculous still manage to be authentic. And though I’m not big on LeBlanc I must give him props for making some of the more cringe worthy story lines work (his Day of Our Lives stint, par exemple). Few shows, if any, put that goofy smile on my face like Friends. It’s strange how parts of the show have trickled down to us (Ross knocking his wrists together instead of flipping someone off; or Joey’s now legendary catchphrase “How you doing?”). Friends epitomises my love affair with TV in the early years of the last decade. They don’t make them like this anymore.
          
Should I eliminate the TV from my Encore’s World? Is Friends as important as I believe it to be? Who’s your favourite?

12 comments:

Tom said...

I don't watch much TV (except for "The Office"), so I would not be too heartbroken if TV was eliminated from your blog.

CrazyCris said...

Hello no!

I watch a lot more TV than movies, there are so many great things on now that I actually have trouble keeping track of them all! Whereas a few years ago I spent most of my online browsing time on blogs and websites dedicated to movies (and the Oscars, lol), now it's 90% TV and the occasional browsing for movie info... and some of that only because I've included it in my Blogger reader!

It took me a long time to "get into" Friends. I didn't quite get it on TV, probably because dubbed into Spanish I didn't find it as funny. But when I got the chance to go through the whole series on dvd... loved it! I don't have a favourite... but Joey and Rachel are definitely at the bottom for me as well! Jennifer Aniston has always annoyed me a bit, even in her movie roles....

Are you not watching anything on TV these days or just not interested in writing about it anymore?

Tom said...

What about starting up a new blog for TV purposes?

DEZMOND said...

"There was actually a period of time when I doubted the sense of humour of anyone who didn’t like the show."

I totally recognize myself in this sentence :) I'm also a huge fan of FRIENDS and everything you said in this post is totally true.

My list of favourite friends would be: 1.PHOEBE 2.CHANDLER 3.MONICA 4.ROSS 5.GUNTER 6.RACHEL I never liked Joey so he's not on the list at all :)

Peter Chan said...

I reluctantly disagree. In the recent years, I found that there's a resurgence of quality (and entertaining) television programs that filled my void left by comedies such as 'Friends'. I'm currently digging 'Modern Family' and even though '30 Rock' & 'How I Met Your Mother' are starting to wear off, they're still somewhat entertaining. C'mon, Andrew... give it another try. :P

As for my 'Friends' ranking:
1. Chandler
2. Phoebe
3. Ross w/o Rachel
4. Monica
5. Rachel
6. Joey
7. Ross w/Rachel

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

tom i haven't been watching the television regularly. other than the odd medium or the office or rarer 30 rock or grey's anatomy episode. and as much as it pains me to say grey's is losing it's touch. i definitely don't see myself working on three blogs.

crazy cris i think that should read aniston annoys especially in her movie roles :)

dezmond that bad about joey? ouch.

peter chan it's so weird how we all have almost the same ranking. glad to see the chandler fans.

CrazyCris said...

True. :p

You should give Castle a try! Ditto Big Bang Theory, V, Fringe, Vampire Diaries (really!), True Blood, Friday Night Lights (this from someone who's always hated American football!), Bones and Glee!

I also watch House but only for Hugh Laurie's crazyness, I'm kind of tired of the same old structure/stories. ugly Betty, Mercy, Grey's Anatomy & Private Practice as guilty pleasures (damn things are creepily addictive!), Carpica 'cause I'm hoping it will reach BSG-level quality, Merlin, Legend of the Seeker, Smallville, Sanctuary and Warehouse 13 for my dose of SciFi&Fantasy fun.

Can't wait for The Tudors to start up again, am looking forward to the new series the same team will be doing on the Borgias (w/ Jeremy Irons!!!).

I think that about covers it... ;o)

and yeah, 3 blogs is too much work!

Jude said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE Friends. As I type this I have three of the seasons on DVD next to me just in case I want to pop one into the computer as I do anything.

Character ranking...
1. Phoebe
2. Chandler
3. Rachel & Monica
4. Joey
5. Ross

Luke said...

I'm not ashamed to say that Friends is my all-time favorite show. I've seen every episode approximately 500 times, so I totally don't think there is cause to eliminated TV from your title! There's so much joy (albeit sometimes flawed) to be had on the small screen. And I'm going to have to agree with most here and say my favorites are: (1) Phoebe, (2) Chandler, (3) Monica, (4) Rachel, (5) Joey, and (6) Ross... though I love them all. :)

Emily said...

Why does everyone hate Ross?

1. Ross
2. Phoebe
3. Chandler
4. Joey
5. Monica
6. Rachel

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

cris good grief! you really love TV don't you?

jude ross is last. ugh :)

luke i too have seen all the episodes more than a few times.

emily i don't know, right?

CrazyCris said...

that would be an understatement! :p